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Ladies' Fingers

If Halloween night were to find you in a misty graveyard, suddenly feeling the touch of ghoulish fingers on the back of your neck, those fingers would probably bear a strong resemblance to these creepy confections with red-stained blanched almonds standing in for fingernails. Let them beckon to you from beyond the grave, summoning you right over to their serving plate.

  • Yield: Makes 30
Ladies' Fingers

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television


  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 30 blanched almonds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats) or parchment paper, and set aside.

  2. Place food coloring in a shallow bowl. Using a small paintbrush, color one rounded half of each almond. Set aside to dry.

  3. Separate 1 egg. Set aside the white. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk, remaining egg, and vanilla. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add egg mixture, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. Divide the dough in half. Work with one piece at a time, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic wrap and chilled. Divide the first half into 15 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece back and forth with palms into finger shapes, 3 to 4 inches long. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Score each knuckle lightly with the back of a small knife. Transfer fingers to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.

  6. When all fingers are formed, brush lightly with egg white. Position almond nails; push into dough to attach.

  7. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.

Reviews (40)

  • pjamis1 3 Oct, 2013

    To give cookie mix some flavor, try adding Almond Extract, or Butterscotch Extract etc IN PLACE OF the vanilla.
    Root beer anyone?

  • Iheartglamour 27 Feb, 2012

    Paint the "nails" first with red gel, and let it dry a bit. Then, paint with the red food coloring. It gives the nails a shine just like nail polish. When I put just the red dye onto the "nails" it didn't look as nice as the ones that I used the gel.

  • tastycreations 31 Oct, 2011

    I made one test cookie and baked it first. The rest of the batch I exagerated the features quite a bit, bigger knuckle, skinnier and longer fingers. I used regular whole almond (with skin on), split it in half, and placed on the cookie with white side showing. Glued nail in place with a little strawberry jam. stuck a jam covered almond shard in the base of the cookie for the bony stump. I did not brush with egg white, but added both eggs into the dough. The baked cookie is a little bland.

  • Joevans 25 Oct, 2011

    I have the same recipe but they are called 'Wiches Fingers'. Bake with the almond on the cookie. When the cookies are baked and cooled remove the almond. Add a drop or two of red gel (found in the baking section) and press the almond onto the red gel. Let it squish out the sides. Holds the almond in place and looks like blood. Wicked good cookie!

  • ibracadabra 11 Oct, 2011

    Made these over the weekend for goodie bags, they came out perfectly. They really looked like real fingers. Like some reviewers suggested, I only used some of the granulated sugar, about 2 tbsps. I chilled the dough for about 30 minutes before forming the fingers, then chilled them on the pans for another 30 minutes and put them straight in the oven. Everyone loves them!

  • autumnprairiegirl 9 Oct, 2011

    I made this recipe today and it turned out perfectly!

    I put the almonds in a stainless bowl with several drops of food coloring and stirred them until coated, then dried on parchement paper.
    I omitted the granulated sugar (the egg/sugar/butter mixture did not become smooth). But it worked out fine after the flour was added.
    I chilled the dough before shaping, and again when I was done with the egg wash and almonds before going in the oven. They stayed the same size, shape & color!

  • BobbyeeB 12 Oct, 2010

    This recipe was a great success at a 2009 Halloween party - I served them from a plastic bowl in which I had cut a small [filtered word] in the bottom and extended my middle finger up into the collection of Lady Fingers - of course, it sometimes moved.
    Unfortunately, when I put them on the dining table, they were removed as "too, scary".

  • BBSandy 9 Oct, 2010

    I take the uneaten ones from my annual Halloween Party and take them to work in snack sized zip bags with a note saying: 'You Didn't Come To My Halloween Party So I Am Giving You The Finger.' Every year my coworkers ask if they are going to get the 'Finger' again. They think they are so life like and it's almost an award to them. AND, it's eidible! otherwise, I don't have any problems with the recipe-it rocks!!

  • terpalice 4 Nov, 2009

    I loved the way that they came out! Given the comments, I did a small batch to test for puffiness and knuckles. Mine came out okay in that regard, but were really pale. So for the rest of them, I lightly dusted them in cocoa powder and it gave them a swirly look without really changing the taste. They were completely awesome at the party I threw.

  • yogagal 1 Nov, 2009

    I was disappointed when I made these. They came out flat. Now that I read your comment about the sugar, I will omit that ingredient the next time.

  • terryfergus 30 Oct, 2009

    First time I made this I forgot the granulated sugar and they turned out perfect - so realistic my husband refused to eat them! When I "fixed" my mistake, they oozed out flat... If you want them to look like the picture, skip the granulated sugar!

  • DellaL 6 Nov, 2008

    I made these for my sister's birthday on Halloween. The store was out of whole almonds so I got the sliced ones, colored them in a bowl by squirting the food coloring on them and tossing with a toothpick. I called them "Witches Fingers", they did come out fat, but I could still see the knuckle detail and the flat almond slices made them look creapy cool! We thought they tasted great, buttery and mild. I'm going to use the recipe to make round cookies with almonds in the center.

  • MinxyBaby 4 Nov, 2008

    Highly disappointing. Something is missing. The dough was very soft to work with. I re-chilled the first batch and then baked, but it made no difference. The fingers puffed, cracked, and you could no longer see the detail of the knuckles. I tried to make the second batch smaller and the fingers still came out HUGE and bloated. As far as taste, they are very bland and boring. The picture posted above is VERY misleading. I'm also curious about where that flesh colour comes from! This is a DUD!

  • JaniceDouglas 31 Oct, 2008

    Thanks for the tip Crafty Kathy. My fingers turned out really fat, too. I tried rolling them thinner and that was just okay. Your suggestion makes way more sense. Still....great, easy Hallowe'en treat that makes everyone laugh!

  • kota 29 Oct, 2008


    I'll try using jelly beans.

  • ArtzMom 28 Oct, 2008

    I used cake frosting and dabb just a little on the fingers, and attach fake ants and spiders. Everyone loves them!

  • ArtzMom 28 Oct, 2008

    How about using jellybeans! They are shiny like nail polish, and if you imbed them deep in the dough, they won't look so round... good luck!

  • kota 28 Oct, 2008

    Any idea's on what to use besides almonds??? No nuts allowed at school.

  • kota 28 Oct, 2008

    Any idea's on what to use besides almonds??? No nuts allowed at school.

  • kota 28 Oct, 2008

    Any idea's on what to use besides almonds??? No nuts allowed at school.

  • kota 28 Oct, 2008

    Any idea's on what to use besides almonds??? No nuts allowed at school.

  • stacieaho 25 Oct, 2008

    These are pretty good in taste- and awesome in look. You could actually make more like 35-40 cookies.... I only made 30, but the fingers were fatter than I'd like them to have been. I made them green to be witch fingers! I am going to serve them in a bed of "dirt" (chocolate cake crumbles), and add some worms around the bottom. SO fun!

  • TheCraftyKathy 25 Oct, 2008

    IMPORTANT! Make sure your dough is still cold when your cookies go in the oven even if you have to put the pans in the fridge after you put the "nails" in place. Otherwise, the dough spreads out too much and lose the "finger" effect. (First batch was a flop. Working on "company ready" batch now.)

  • gracieb83 20 Oct, 2008

    Of course - I don't have a stand mixer, I just use the regular attachment or the ones that have the thinner blades. My cookies and cakes turn out fine

  • lovestennis 20 Oct, 2008

    For those of you who do not have a paddle with the hand-held mixer, you can still work the dough with the beaters you have. Just be sure to have the butter at room temperature. You can alternate by using a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients all the way to the end. It would add just a little work out to your arms. Have fun!

  • Dojosita 20 Oct, 2008

    I don't have one either, so it would be great to get some ideas on this.

  • JluvzB 20 Oct, 2008

    I think I'm the last person on the planet to buy a standing mixer. Does anyone know how to do this if you don't have a paddle attachment with a hand-held one? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • hottobasco 20 Oct, 2008

    These are great popping out of a graveyard cake along with gummy worms and cookie "dirt"

  • fordale 19 Oct, 2008

    what would you use to stand the fingers in......looks like chocolate flakes?
    Have to try these.

  • anitarn 19 Oct, 2008

    These fingers make such a big hit! I have made them every Halloween and bring them into work and have even brought them into my nail salon. By the way they are delicious too.

  • applledumpling 19 Oct, 2008

    What IS the bowl made of, and is it available for purchase? Love it.

  • applledumpling 19 Oct, 2008

    gREAT IDEA, jOEVANS! cOULD YOU ALSO SHARE THE RECIPE AND TECHNIQUES WITH ME? tHESE ARE SO CUTE! Would like to make them for a Red Hats group! Thanks bunches!

  • lameadus 19 Oct, 2008

    Joevans can you email me that recipe Thanks!

  • Angelspacc 19 Oct, 2008

    I thought the bowl looked like cake too. But look closely, I don't think the bowl or pedestal are cake, it looks like possibly the bowl is filled with crumbled chocolate cake and the fingers are standing in it. Well if it isn't, it's a good idea.

  • Joevans 19 Oct, 2008

    I have a recipe for these but they are called 'Witches Fingers'. It's a shortbread dough and you press a whole unblanched almond in the finger. Bake them and the almonds turn tosted and brown. Take the almonds out, squeeze in some red gel and press the almonds in the gel. The gel oozes out a bit and holds the almonds in. I make these for work every year. Big hit and the cookies are delicious. (You don't have to brush with egg to hold the almonds in)

  • giniana 19 Oct, 2008

    The bowl the fingers are in looks like cake. Does anyone know anything about it? Thanks.

  • quiltingmama 19 Oct, 2008

    When I made these I made some maller and green with toated coconut and the broken almonds. I called them Oger toes.

  • renn10ten 12 Oct, 2008

    I made these for my husbands halloween work party. We did change some stuff, we added come green food coloring to the dough and painted pumpkin seeds black instead. We decided to call the Witch Fingers! We also learned since we live in a high altitude city we added more powered sugar to help it harden quicker.

  • khklak 29 Mar, 2008

    I made these "fingers" for a company Halloween party. They were a huge hit. They were the first thing to go. Many people asked for the recipe so they could make them with their kids. Very fun!

  • pastrymama 20 Feb, 2008

    I love these for Halloween, the kids always get a kick out of them. But I also used them at work for a James Bond Casino night. I just turned the almond so the round end was out, so they looked like a man's finger and sprayed the baked cookies with edible gold powder to make Gold Fingers. They were a hit.

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